Hanover Raceway has successful 2020 despite COVID-19 challenges

Doug McNair receives his Top Dash Winning and Top Percentage Driver awards from Hanover Raceway Assistant to the GM Tony Elliott. (Photo provided by Hanover Raceway GM Steve Fitzsimmons)

Despite the challenges of COVID-19, Hanover Raceway had a very successful 2020 season across its 15 race dates.

Raceway GM Steve Fitzsimmons said they had a nearly 92 per cent increase in online wagering from last year, as most fans watched the races online and enjoyed the new fully produced online TV show to catch the race action. Fitzsimmons said it was in some ways great timing for the new online broadcast to be introduced.

“You know, that ancillary part of the entertainment part, it was good timing for that because people, in large part, didn’t have much to do this year from an entertainment standpoint, and I’m glad we were able to provide some.”

Online wagering went up from $400,972  last year to $768,000 this year. Fitzsimmons said his staff and all the people who came to race were excellent to work with and dealt with the challenges head-on. The raceway was able to host limited groups of fans toward the end of the season, but Fitzsimmons said even without fans everyone involved did a tremendous job.

Fitzsimmons said because fans weren’t allowed in for the first eight or nine weeks, the new online component came about at a decent time and contributed to the online wagering boost.

“It was, you know, timely obviously, and very successful, but I’d be lying if I said I thought we could deliver the kind of numbers that we did this year. I know the first day, I was hoping we could do something like $20,000 and we did $67,000, a 29-year high.”

“I want to give a huge thank you to the horsemen and women who have supported our race track with their attendance and the entry of their horses,” Fitzsimmons says. “We also appreciate you rolling with the punches on the protocols we have had to deal with together, to keep us safe. I know it was different for all of us, but you dealt with it without complaint. For that, I say thank you.”

A full list of the end of year award winners at Hanover Raceway is available below:

L-R: Hanover Raceway GM Steve Fitzsimmons, Dale Fritz, Award Winner Austin Sorrie, Terry Fritz and Monica Fritz. (Photo provided by Hanover Raceway GM Steve Fitzsimmons)

– Dash Winning Driver and Top Percentage Driver – Doug McNair
– Dash Winning Trainer – Patrick Shepherd
– Ray and Lue Leifso Award (Leading Non-Driving Percentage Trainer with top UTRS – Minimum 15 seasonal starts) – John Kennedy

– Ab Fleishauer Horse of the Year Award – Deputy Seelster
– Claimer of the Year – Destiny Cruise
– Bud Fritz Rising Star Award – Austin Sorrie